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Skirting the Issue: making skirts for charity

I have something really fantastic to share with you today.  I’m sure you’ve heard of Liz and Elizabeth who blog over at Simple Simon and Co.  (Yeah, what are the odds that you find a friend with your name, who also has the same interests and talents as you, and then run a successful blog together?  Pretty darn cool.  Any Ashley’s out there wanna team up?  Haha!)


Those sweet gals, Liz and Elizabeth, host an incredible project every July called, “Skirting the Issue“, which is an event where we can help out our communities in a very simple way. 



To participate, all you have to do is make simple SKIRTS to donate to your local foster care centers (or similar facilities in your area).  The new school year is around the corner and wouldn’t it be great to help some little girls in your area feel a little more lovely in a brand new skirt?  (And if you don’t know where to donate in your own area, you can send your creations to Liz and Elizabeth……and they’ll take all donations to a local center where they live in Utah.)



So, what in the world do I have to do with any of this?  Well, Liz and Elizabeth have asked a large handful of bloggers to share some of their favorite skirt tutorials with their readers, to help spark ideas for some serious skirt making and donating this month.  (There are no rules about making certain skirt styles…these are just ideas.)  And before you click away because you think your skills aren’t up to par, making a skirt is one of the simplest projects you can make.  (And here is a sizing chart to help you out!)  And just think, some of these girls in foster care aren’t going to care if their hem line is a little wavy.  Or if the waist band is a bit wider in some spots than in others.  No biggee……you’ve got this! :)


Or, if you’re a little more confident with your machine, try something new.  Stretch those little sewing fingers a bit!


Anyway, here are a few of my very favorite skirts:


The Stretchy Tube Skirt……..a seriously simple and QUICK 30 minute skirt.  You could seriously pump out a bunch of these in no time!


Have a bunch of knit fabric scraps laying around?  How about a pile of old Tshirts?  Cut them up into strips and create this Ombre Fringe Skirt for almost no cost at all.  (I made this for Elli over a year ago and she still wears and LOVES this thing!)


And one of my favorites, the Bubble Skirt (with elastic waist)…….a really fun and flouncy skirt that you can dress up or keep simple.

***Want to see more?  Check out the Clothing Section of my blog. :)



I know summer gets a little hectic but pick an afternoon where the kiddos are exhausted from being outside and are relaxing indoors with a movie (or an evening after work), and pull out that sewing machine.  Really, you could make several really great skirts in an afternoon…….and then let some little girl(s) know that there are people out there who care.  And want to help them feel special.   It won’t take much of your time or money to do so. 


Be sure to check out Simple Simon and Co, for other darling skirt ideas and tutorials that they’ve been sharing this month.


I’m off to dig through my piles of fabric.  Surely I can turn today into “skirt day”. :)


Thanks Liz and Elizabeth, for inspiring so many to create.  And not just for themselves, but for those who are living in this world with less.  I love that you guys host this each year.  A big hug to both of you!




Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Linda L. says:

    “And just think, some of these girls in foster care aren’t going to care if their hem line is a little wavy. Or if the waist band is a bit wider in some spots than in others. No biggee……you’ve got this!”

    I hope I’m mis-reading this but it sounds like you’re saying that charity cases shouldn’t be too fussy about wearing donated clothing even if it’s not properly made. Anything that you make to donate should always be of the same quality as what you would put on your own children or that you would make to give as a gift to your niece or granddaughter.

    Children living in foster care already get enough ‘messages’ that they are second-best (or worse). Many organizations serving them receive “gifts” for them that end up in the garbage or in the rag bag because they are not in usable condition. If you’re going to give something to children who are already one step behind your own kids, please make it something that you would be proud to send your own child out the door to school in.

    Rather than saying it’s okay to give them something that’s not quite right, how about giving them something that’s just a little bit special? You could add a matching hair band or put nicer buttons on – anything to move your gift up a notch. These kids are in foster care usually through no fault of their own and the funds available for their care simply don’t allow for much over and above the barest essentials. Why not use that fabric you’ve been saving for a special occasion? It could be the only “special occasion” that little girl has in a long time. And each and every one of these children is worth it.

    If you want to use the gift as a teachable moment, you could make two of whatever you are making for your own child and explain to him or her that you are giving the second one to a child just like them that doesn’t have the same family advantages as they do.

    1. Jude says:

      I live in Maine and the foster children receive a clothing allowance sufficient to buy excellent attire. From what I understand, the allowance was raised specifically so that the foster children could be very well dressed to overcome the “poor kids” look, as you have mentioned above.

      I agree with you that the clothing should be very well made, but I also know that what I sew for myself is less than perfect, but only I know its flaws. People with even average skills can make clothing that looks great in spite of minor flaws.

      The sewing skirts and pants projects are a great idea. The foster kids in Maine don’t need them, but the families who are struggling to make ends meet and cannot afford new clothing for their children could most assuredly use them. I would suggest that if people make things, their city or town welfare departments would be able to distribute them for the most needy families.

  2. Michele says:

    Thank you for your blog post. I am mailing the three skirts I made today for Skirting the Issue. Made two in size 7 and one in size 14 — I sewed the size on seam binding and put it in the waistband at the center back.

  3. Marleen says:

    Wow, that’s such a cool idea! I love the bubble skirt.

    As the mother of a son I can’t help but think: ‘how about the boys? They are nervousfor the first day of school too!’. There are plenty of simple boy shorts and pants patterns out there, maybe there are some readers who would like to sew pants to donate too? Perhaps we could make a small list of links for pants? My new go to pattern is the sycamore short.

    I make them without pockets, that simplifies it even more! Just 2 pieces of fabric to sew together. The directions are very clear, so even beginners can follow. I’m sure you could elongate the pattern so the shorts become pants.

  4. Diane W says:

    I made 9 of the simple tube skirt this week. Thank you for the nice pattern. Gave them all to granddaughters and boy, they were so excited! I guess I donated them too! Bringing 4 with us to our Alaskan granddaughters this Friday….

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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